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A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I get it now.

I get it.

Facebook wants you.

It wants you so, so bad.

Zuckerberg is lying on his bed of money, rubbing money all over his money-- he's rolling around, flicking his taint (whoa-- money!) and he's just dreaming about... well...


He wants you, and your youness.

Facebook is his baby and his daddy and his bitch, and now he wants you to be his daddy and his baby and his bitch.

Oh, dirty little baby bitch.


No, seriously.  He does.

At first, I didn't get it.  I didn't understand what it was all about.  I mean, Facebook changes interfaces as frequently as I change pants.  That is to say, about twice a week.  Gross, I know, but who has the time to take the belt off and take the wallet out and the Burt's Bees and put it all on another pair of pants every day?  I mean, come on-- it's not like I'm shitting in them.

So, right-- Timeline.  I didn't understand what the big deal was.  Until today.  I happened to look at my Timeline-- well, my Timeline preview, because I'm way too antidisestablishmentarianwhateverthecum to change it over myself, so I'm just going to wait until they MAKE ME DO IT.

(They're making me do it.  It's like rape.  Zuckerberg's raping me with his money cock.)

So, I scrolled all the way down to my birthday-- May 12, 1980-- where my Timeline begins.  And there's nothing there because, well, obvs-- Facebook didn't exist in 1980.  And then it hit me.

My kids.

My kids were born on December 15, 2011.  FACEBOOK EXISTED WHEN MY KIDS WERE BORN.  My wife and I (because we're STUPID NARCISSISTS) put up pictures from the hospital bed, pictures of our children in their little incubator pod weird thing.  The first picture ever taken of them, something that should be private, to our family, got a hundred fucking thumbs ups-- many of them from people who haven't spoken to me out loud since middle school-- and I guarantee you the last thing they said to me probably wasn't nice.

People who are born to adults of the Facebook generation are going to have their whole lives on Facebook.  From the first minute.  Their first spit up, their first shitty diaper, their first breastfeed, their first roll over, the first time they bring their goddamned little grubby hands to midline.  We're constantly clicking away at our babies' lives, as Emily Webb says, "every, every minute".  And it's all there, on Facebook.

Timeline is gonna MOTHERFUCKING OWN US.

When my kids become fourteen, (apparently, that's the age you need to be to get a Facebook account) they're going to get access to all the pictures of them, from the very first one at the hospital, and they're going to put them all up on their Timeline and every moment of their live will be chronicled, cataloged, categorized.

And... I don't exactly know what that means.  I'm not smart enough to know what that means.  I'm not paranoid enough to know what that means.  I don't know if it's the end of something, or the beginning of something.  Is it the end of privacy, or is it the beginning of oneness?

All I know is this-- Facebook doesn't need to see my Middle School Years, and I don't think it needs to see anybody's Middle School Years.  What does it want with every moment of our lives?  Does Facebook want to fuck us or own us or drop us or eat us or what?  It's beginning to seem like a Maurice Sendak character, only without the charm.

Timeline: you need to be stopped, and I think I'm just the man to do it.  I'm after you, Zuckerberg.  Just as soon as I change my status.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cultural Die-versity

I try not to write about work because I have this fear that it'll get me fired. I have a rather a bad history with writing. While my writing has gotten me published and it's gotten me accolades and compliments and speaking engagements and even a luncheon in my honor, it's also almost gotten me thrown out of college, and it also got me fired from what will go down as probably the only teaching gig of my life. A friend of mine insists that it wasn't the writing that got me fired, it's that I was Jewish-- but I doubt that's true.

I've got to be more careful with my words. I'm normally a careful man. I drive a Volvo with six airbags in it. When I make a steak, I cook the everloving shit out of it, just to make sure that there isn't a speck of bacteria that could survive and fuck up my intestinal regions. Instead of moving to NYC to give acting a shot, I came home to roost and took a 9-5 job. There isn't a car or house or office door I stand or sit behind that isn't locked, and I like it that way. But I'm not so careful with my words, and maybe that's why I love writing so much, because it's my time, it's my way, it's my venue for recklessness-- and being careful and reckless at the same time, well, just doesn't work.

Maybe that's why I never became a professional writer, because I could never quite figure out how to reconcile the two. Or maybe I wasn't reckless enough. So, today, I'll write about work. And I'll be a little more reckless than I'm comfortable being.

I went to a Cultural Diversity seminar last week at work. In preparation for this seminar, I did some practice work on my Earnest Listening Face. I don't know what your face looks like when you're listening earnestly, but my brow knits, my head cocks very slightly to one side-- not in the dog-listening-to-Jeopardy! way, but in a you-really-have-my-attention-now way-- and I worked the muscles in my neck to give those imprecise, at-key-points nods of approval and I-get-it-ness.

You have to practice before going to something like a Cultural Diversity seminar-- especially when it's run by your boss. And practice I did. It's a good thing I'm a trained actor, or it would have been written all over my face that I'd have rather been rubbing my face into a gravel pit than be at this seminar.

Truth be told, it wasn't all bad-- as few things are. I learned something about my own culture, actually, that I didn't know. An Israeli psychologist spoke about a Jewish custom whereby a first-born Jewish son must be "bought" from God by its parents, and the boy is placed on a silver platter and surrounded by jewels, as an offering of sorts. It's a good thing our daughter was born first-- we're fresh out of jewels and silver platters. Had our son come out first, we could have managed a Fiestaware plate covered with broken pocket watches.

A black psychiatrist spoke about what it was like growing up in the segregated south. I hate to sound arrogant, but she didn't say much that everyone in the room didn't already know, except for the fact that, where she lived, white folks and black folks did some social activities together, but more regimented activities like meals and school and such were done strictly apart.

She spoke about how we are all equal, all human-- about how race is an artificial construct devised to wield superiority over others. She spoke about how, the instant one group asserts its will over another, or attempts to dictate behavior or morals or influence, that this is disrespecting the ideals of cultural diversity.

Then, this same psychiatrist caught my attention with an offhand remark about genocide.

"Y'all remember that genocide in the '90s, the Hutus and the Tutsis? Thousands and thousands of people killed and, to me, that was even worse than the Nazi holocaust, 'cuz the Hutus and the Tutsis-- you couldn't even tell 'em apart to look at them-- they were the same."

It became harder for me, at that point, to look respectfully attentive. My brow knit harder and my throat got thick. I hate the word "outraged" like I hate the word "amazing", because I think both are overused to no effect, but I'm beginning to think I was outraged-- outraged not because she was minimizing the systematic attempted annihilation of my religion-- but because of the blatant, shameful hypocrisy she exhibited by, at one turn, speaking of how one human life is just as valuable as the next, and how we are all part of the one human race, and then to put two mass murders on a scale and proclaim one worse than the other.

I wanted to walk out, but I'm too chickenshit. Only reckless in word-- remember?

The fact that this Cultural Diversity seminar imploded at the exact moment this psychiatrist made that comment only serves to prove that such seminars should not exist in the first place. Should we be talking about matters of race and ethnicity and prejudice and shame and pride and culture and sex and virtue and vice? Sure. Yes, we should. Of course we should. But let's do it by the water cooler. Let's talk about it at the chartroom table-- over lunch, over coffee, at a diner, at a bus stop-- let's take this out of the boardroom. Let's lose the PowerPoint. It's so stifling, it's so belittling. It's insulting, frankly.

Mark Twain once said that change begins at the edges-- in the thousands of little interactions that occur between every day people, every day-- the postman, the dentist, the librarian, the taxi driver, in the hellos and goodbyes of daily life. To me, cultural diversity means going through your life not treating people like shit because they go to a funny place on Sunday, or on Friday night, or not at all, not because of the color of their skin or because of what they eat or what they don't-- it's treating people like shit because they deserve to be treated like shit-- through their actions and their behavior. Because they're mean or because they're impolite or because they're intolerant. See, not everyone deserves to be treated equally. And, unfortunately, in this society, we do impose and impart our will on others-- especially at a psychiatric hospital, where we take away peoples' freedom because we believe that you don't have the right to kill yourself, we sometimes force medications, we restrain, we lock you in your room. We do that-- because we have keys, and you don't. You're crazy, and we're not. Well, at least, not on paper we're not.

Cultural diversity.


If you put it down on a handout, if you talk about it upstairs around a round table, if you have to spend forty minutes defining terms like "Ethnicity" and "Race" and "Culture" then you're just wasting your time and everybody else's. Because Trayvon Martin's getting gunned down in Florida. Because this country still won't let institutionalized and sanctioned prejudice against homosexuals go. Because people in America the beautiful still hate "THE POLICE", even though every day gays, blacks, women, Asians, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, and 800,000 people in between wake up and pin badges onto their starched polyester shirts to make a buck and enforce some laws they probably don't agree with anyway. Because we still judge at the drop of a hat, and that isn't always a bad thing-- we're just not yet smart enough to recognize when it is and when it isn't. And if a seminar where every third person pipes up with an inane comment that's meant to show how progressive they are is supposed to fix that, well, count me out.

In fact, don't count me at all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Never Did Mind About the Little Things

Apparently, you can't drink beer on Passover.

(Yeast, you know.)

Somebody at work asked me the other day whether or not Jews can drink beer on Passover. The question presupposed a couple things-- one, that I'm Jewish. Anybody who's not blind or stupid or both knows that just by looking at me, so there you go. It also presumes that I drink, and generally speaking, people who suppose this about me suppose that "everybody" drinks, so why shouldn't I?

And, really, why shouldn't I? I mean, I don't-- but there isn't really any reason why I shouldn't. No family history of alcoholism, no history of mental illness that would be exasperated by the presence of alcohol, no past traumatic experiences involving drink-- etcetera etcetera.

At any rate, I don't drink. Why? Probably because I'm holding onto my complete and total sobriety-- not even like a security blanket, but as a quirk. Something that makes me different from you. Something uncanny to remark on during a first date-- not that I'll ever have one of those again.

The question about beer on Passover also supposes something else about me-- not just that I'm Jewish, but that I have sufficient knowledge about and/or interest in the intricacies of Passover and its do-and-do-nots such that I would be able to rattle off an answer that would satisfy the innocent interoffice interrogator on the subject of barley and/or hops during the Passover holiday.

Friend, I do not possess the knowledge or the interest. I don't care. Eat pepperoni-filled garlic knots dipped in motor oil on Passover for all I give a damn. Chew panko-encrusted shards of broken glass. Please, just leave me alone.



I feel like I'm never going to stop writing about it. It's like the girl you're in love with in high school that your brain can't ever let you stop thinking about. It's the pimple inside your nose. It's the goddamn tiddlit of broccoli stuck between your teeth in the back of your mouth-- your fucking miserable tongue just CAN'T STOP PLAYING WITH IT!

I don't know of another religion that is as obsessed with minutia, that loves detail, that wants nothing more than to separate and segregate until the end of time. When I think about Judaism, I picture a matryoshka doll. You know what I'm talking about. If anybody you know has ever been to Russia, that's what they brought back for you as a gift-- because, what the fuck else would they bring back for you-- a turnip with a beard?

Anyway, Judaism is like a matryoshka doll in that, when you look at it in a superficial way (the way lots of people look at things because, hey; who has the time?) it looks like a nice, painted wooden doll. Okay. However, the more you get into Judaism, the more you delve into its history and its ethics and, much more than that-- its thousands and thousands of covenants and rules and regulations, the dolls and the details get smaller and smaller and smaller until they're impossibly small-- until you can't possibly fathom how these crazy little dolls were once living so peacefully and so quietly inside of this big doll.

Can I turn on water in a hotel on Shabbat if less than 50% of the guests are non-Jews? This is a "legitimate" question one of my wife's friends asked once upon a time. Are you fucking kidding me? What does God want you to do-- go to the front desk and check all the last names on the register? Pull down all the pants of the guys staying in all the rooms to scope out their dicks for mushroom caps? Another real question: if a woman is pregnant, and she goes into labor on Shabbat-- can she call an ambulance if the EMTs are non-Jews-- oh, wait-- somebody has to call for her-- a non-Jew, because she can't use the phone on Shabbat. What if the EMT in the back of the ambulance with her is Jewish-- the goy has to drive. But, wait? Isn't it against Jewish custom for a Jew to work on Shabbat-- so an observant Jewish EMT won't work on Shabbat anyway.

Phew! Well, that solves that part of the equation.

It's maddening and it's madness. And we're just talking about the tip of the iceberg (Goldberg? Sorry.) here. The dolls just keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller as the knowledge goes further and further. And all I can say is: not interested. Leave me out of it. This craziness can have its fans and its fanatics, but I will not be one of them. Are we going to raise our children to be Jewish? Sure we are. Are we going to encourage this banana-pants dissection of a faith that originated before shabbat elevators and ambulances and running water-- fuck, no. Because I never did mind about the little things-- and I hope to hell my children don't either.